Micro-data files

Some users will prefer to conduct their own analysis of the wealth data. In these situations, the main challenge for the organisation that has produced the wealth data is making the data files available with the greatest level of information possible, while still ensuring the confidentiality of the individual survey respondents. Dissemination of wealth data in light of this trade-off can prove to be a challenging task, as wealth distributions are heavily concentrated on specific individuals. However, several solutions in this field enable dissemination with a sufficient level of information. The use of Statistical Disclosure Control techniques, a set of statistical methods that analytically address this trade-off, is one of these solutions, and has been recently explored by Eurostat.1 The creation of safe centres for micro data access also allows wider dissemination (see Box 8.2). The wide range of solutions available in this field is currently being reviewed by an OECD Expert Group on micro data dissemination that will lead to the publication of some guidelines in this field.

Box 8.2. Statistics Canada’s Research Data Centres

Data from the periodic wealth surveys conducted by Statistics Canada are made available as part of the collection of data sets in the Research Data Centres (RDCs). The RDCs are part of an initiative to strengthen Canada's social research capacity and to support the policy research community. RDCs provide researchers with access to microdata from population and household surveys in a secure university setting. The centres are staffed by Statistics Canada employees, and operated under the provisions of the Statistics Act in accordance with all its confidentiality rules: they are accessible only to researchers with approved projects who have been sworn in under the Statistics Act as “deemed employees”. RDCs are located throughout the country, so researchers do not need to travel to Ottawa to access Statistics Canada micro data.

To find out more about the activities of RDCs, please visit the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN) website www.rdc-cdr.ca.

In addition, extensive documentation must be provided to the researchers, including but not limited to the survey questionnaire, detailed description of the survey methodology and detailed description of all variables in the data file (including code sets or ranges of the values of each variable).

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